Strategic plans define roles and onboard next generation

It is not usual for a family owned business to avoid strategic planning. Often, the owners believe they know their business, products and markets intimately enough that devoting the time to developing a strategic plan seems superfluous.

It is not usual for a family owned business to avoid strategic planning. Often, the owners believe they know their business, products and markets intimately enough that devoting the time to developing a strategic plan seems superfluous.

This can be especially true if the business has been in operation for a number of years and has some mileage under its belt and solid or consistent performance. Ownership may have weathered challenges and obstacles thrown its way and feel confident that it can withstand changes that occur.

There are circumstances that can make strategic planning imperative, and often this is associated with new family members or the next generation of potential owners entering the business.

In addition to factors such as stock or ownership percentages, that are essential ingredients when bringing on the next generation – and the strategic planning discipline will serve a number of purposes.

First, it can define to new members the underlying assumptions that have brought the business to the point it is today.

What drives the business and the culture necessary to sustain the business are addressed, and this provides grounding to those entering the business.

Second, the strategic planning process can define roles for new family members and a pathway for the experiences that they might need.

It could be that over the course of five years, some people will be immersed in a series of jobs to round out their knowledge and understanding of the business.

The strategic plan will identify those roles and functions and the duration of time the individuals may be working in them.

Next, involving new family members in developing the strategic plan surfaces new ideas and new assumptions for the future of the business.

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